Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/23/2003
Publication Date: 11/3/2003
Citation: KITCHEN, N.R., SUDDUTH, K.A., MYERS, D.B., DRUMMOND, S.T., PALM, H.L., WIEBOLD, W.J. 2003. HOW TO ASSESS WHETHER MANAGING BY ZONES PAID [abstract] [CD-ROM]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts.
Technical Abstract: Somewhere between representing a field as a sole unit and representing the field as high-resolution continuous data lies the concept of "management zones." Managing spatial variation of the soil and crop within the framework of management zones is intuitive for producers because it allows them to visualize operations merely as breaking up large fields into smaller fields. Yet, whether managing by zones is economically advantageous compared to whole-field management is still widely debated. Based on our research and outreach experiences, we will address factors important to determining the value of managing by zones. First, use of the phrase "management zone" will be reviewed, since it carries multiple meanings and applications. For example, most commonly the phrase is used to identify sub-field areas that vary in some management input or practice. However, if the same decision rule or algorithm is applied over an entire field and the zone is just a classified representation of this rule, minimal increased return may result. A more advanced and valuable approach is where each zone represents a unique algorithm or response curve. The boundaries of zones are most often unique for each input or practice. Guidelines to assist producers in assessing the value of zone management will also be presented. These guidelines include (1) a clear statement of purpose in terms of the desired outcome; (2) documentation of actions and resources; (3) finding a suitable comparison to whole-field management; and (4)refining the plan in the future. Finally, several case-study examples will be presented to illustrate the guidelines.